Man fires a gun across state lines....

Say there are two men standing on opposite sides of a state line.
One fires a gun at the other. The bullet travels across the state line and kills the other man.

In which state do you charge the man with murder and who investigates it? State A or State B or the Feds?

Have there been any law cases addressing this issue?

I don’t know if there is a real answer to this scenario, but I will venture a WAG:

The crime occured in the state in which the gun was fired, regardless of where the victim happens to be when he dies. Therefore the state the criminal is in will prosecute the crime.

However, the other state would do the autopsy on the victim. :slight_smile:

As a legal matter, the BarBri bar exam prep class taught me that both states would have jurisdiction to prosecute.

How they sort it out between them as a practical matter, I don’t know.

What if the bullet passes from State A, over the corner of State C, then into State B where the victim is struck? Does State C have jurisdiction? Hell, I dunno.

WAG, brother-in-law the prosecutor is sleeping.

Either, the states could deal with each other to agree who prosecutes (usually the state with tougher penalties gets it).

Or, I tend to beleive that the feds would say it was a crime commissioned accross state borders so they would claim jurisdiction. Of course, this doesn’t explain the Malvo case being tried in Virginia.

If this isn’t answered tomorrow, I’ll ask him and get back to you

Ooh! Ooh! How’s this…

Suppose I’m at the “four corners” place (Utah, Arizone, New Mexico, and Colorado). I’m standing in Utah and fire a high-powered rifle shot at someone standing in Arizona… it goes through his body (clean wound, yo) and strikes a man standing in New Mexico, but ricochets off his prosthetic hip and finally hits one final person in Colorado.

WHAT THEN?!?!? HUH?!? HUH?!?

Well, somebody musta done some fancy footwork with my Atlas, 'cuz I’ll be durned if I know where in tarnation “Arizone” is…

Regarding Malvo

I think they are trying the case in Viginia first and then he can be tried in the other states. I believe the FBI took him into custody and the Federal government decided he should be tried in Virginia first. I think this was because Virginia has the death penalty. The other states then can have a crack at him, if they wish. I think he could be prosecuted federally on federal fire arms violations as well.

yeah, the death penalty was what I meant when I said the state with the highest level of punishment would get the agreement form other state(s)

If Erle Stanley Gardner were still alive, he could get a whole novel out of this question.

They never re-run The Dukes Of Hazzard any more, do they? - seems like every other episode of that was something to do with the state line.

I thought is was the county line. I seem to remember that one of their conditions of parole, was that they were prohibited from leaving Hazard County.

Ah, I think you are right there.

What about national borders? Suppose I go to Detroit and fire a rifle across the river into Canada and kill someone. Who prosecutes?

Similar (but far less serious) thing actually happened to me.

My car was parked on one side of the street. Idiot on the other side of the street got out of his truck and forgot to put the parking brake on. Truck slowly rolls across the street, crosses the municipal boundary, hits my car, and puts about $1500 in it.

The question was: Which police department do we file the report with? The one from the town in which the guy negligently left his rolling weapon, or the one in which the damage occurred?

Answer: We tried to file with the town where the truck started, but when the police showed up, they said, Nope. Gotta file with the other town’s police.

(It’s a great factoid. How can a motor vehicle accident occur when neither vehicle has a driver in it, and neither is even turned on!)

Should read: "and puts about $1500 damage in it. (And I did do a preview! Aaarghh!)

At common law, one particular act/omission or result determined the situs of the crime. Murder is committed at the place where the fatal force impinges on the body of the victim, rather than where the force was initiated (where he shot the victim from) or where the victim dies.

Many states have enlarged this jurisdiction by statute, generally following the Model Penal Code, which declares that a state has jurisdiction over conduct occurring in the state which “establishes complicity in the commission of, or an attempt, solicitation of conspiracy to commi, an offense in another jurisdiction which is an offense under the laws of this State.” Under a statute like this, when a A in Texas shoots over the border and kills B in Oklahoma, Texas has jurisdiction to punish, where under the common law it wouldn’t.

Not to get too crazy, or hijack the post…but…
Assuming that both states can prosecute the crime, if the shooter was aquited in State A, could he be tried in State B, or would that be double jeapordy???

Yes he can, and no it wouldn’t be. He committed an act that violated the laws of two different states, which are “dual sovereigns.” This means that their power to act to enforce their laws each derives from separate sources of authority. Double jeopardy restricts a single soverieign from reprosecuting a single violation of its laws, but separate sovereigns with concurrent jurisdiction (two states, or state and federal governments) can each act to enforce violations of their laws.

On the other hand, even though it may be constitutional, there are often statutory provisions that prohibit a second prosecution in a concurrent jurisdiction situation; also, prosecutors may decline to prosecute out of fairness.

According to Florida law, the man could be tried for murder if he shot from Florida into another state or if he shot from another state into Florida. I don’t think he could be prosecuted Federally unless he killed a Federal employe on official business.

I may be wrong, but it doesn’t seem that the two states could try him for the same crime though. That seems to violate double jeopardy. I think one could try him for murder and one could try him for illegally discharging a fire arm.

Pravnik: do you have any case law regarding two states prosecuting someone for the same crime?